Nordic countries perform best in global corruption ranking

By on 27/01/2016 | Updated on 25/09/2020
Denmark tops the ranking for 2015 having obtained a score of 92 – slightly better than its score of 91 the previous year

Denmark, Finland and Sweden are the least corrupt countries according to an annual ranking.

This year’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), ranks 168 countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived, using a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Denmark, which this year obtained a score of 92 – slightly better than its score of 91 the previous year, is followed by Finland in second place with a score of 90, Sweden in third scoring 89, New Zealand in fourth scoring 88 and the Netherlands and Norway in joint fifth place both scoring 87.

See also: Nigeria’s top officials are warned over corruption, again

This compares to last year’s ranking which saw Denmark in first, New Zealand in second, Finland in third, Sweden in fourth and Norway and Switzerland in joint fifth place.

Overall, two-thirds of countries in this year’s index scored below 50.

Brazil was the biggest decliner in the index, falling five points and dropping seven positions to a rank 76.

The unfolding Petrobras scandal brought people onto the streets in 2015 and the start of the related judicial process may help Brazil improve its score in future years.

North Korea and Somalia are the worst performers, scoring just eight points each.

Jose Ugaz, chair of Transparency International (TI), which runs the index, said: “Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough.

See also: Mexico must up efforts to prevent corruption in $9bn airport project, says OECD

“The CPI 2015 clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption.”

Top performers share key characteristics: high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that don’t differentiate between rich and poor, and that are truly independent from other parts of government.

In addition to conflict and war, poor governance, weak public institutions like police and the judiciary, and a lack of independence in the media characterise the lowest ranked countries.

The big decliners in the past four years include Libya, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Turkey.

The big improvers include Greece, Senegal and UK.

See also: Global watchdog issues warning over Malaysian ‘corruption crisis’

The CPI is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. It is a composite index, a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The CPI is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.

Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

One Comment

  1. Professor lars says:

    Hi Winne,

    These Nordic countries are not fair in Academic world and it has been proven again and again. Please see recent blog on this:

    Swedish academia is no meritocracy

    Unadvertised positions and favouritism towards internal candidates are commonplaces in Swedish academic hiring. This is illegal and must change, say Johan Warodell, Erik J. Olsson and Jan Almäng

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